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Gold Production Levels Should Provide Solid Price Support Ahead

January 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Prieur du Plessis submits:

With the bullion price (temporarily?) under pressure – and it really is anybody’s guess how the short term will unfold – a long-term metric such as gold production provides an interesting perspective.

Research by Cormark Securities (via US Global Investors – Weekly Investor Alert), shows that global gold production peaked in 2001 at 2,600 metric tons. World output has been steadily declining from that point because of lower grades and higher capital costs that are making it uneconomic for producers to bring new gold onto the market.

I expect the production trend to keep heading south and thereby provide solid support to the yellow metal in the medium term.

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Passport Capital’s Rationale for Owning Physical Gold vs. Proxies

January 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Market Folly submits:

At the end of 2009, John Burbank’s hedge fund Passport Capital took possession of its physical gold investment. It is kept in custody in Zurich with UBS and represents a 1% allocation in Passport Global. What’s interesting here is that Passport also notes that it intends to increase its exposure via physical gold and that it is unlikely to buy various proxies for gold (GLD) (IAU) (SGOL).

Passport has published a white paper on its rationale for owning physical gold. The paper examines the supply/demand dynamic, the impact of central bank action on gold, and the implications of owning “paper” gold versus physical. This is not the first time we’ve seen specific research published by the firm, as we covered its previous case for agriculture as well.

This is very intriguing for two reasons: First, many of the hedge funds we track have been long gold. Second, and most important, we are now seeing more and more funds shift from “paper” gold exposure to physical gold. David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital was one of the first major funds to store physical gold, citing lower storage costs (versus expense ratios) as its rationale. Now we see Passport Capital doing the same, but for slightly different reasons.

Then on the other hand, you have John Paulson’s hedge fund Paulson & Co. holding billions worth of GLD. Paulson owns the paper proxy for gold, but it is merely a hedge to its fund share class denominated in gold. Paulson & Co. also launched a new gold fund as a wager against the U.S. dollar. Additionally, we saw that hedge fund manager Eric Sprott is launching aphysical gold trust and published a special report on gold, “The Ultimate Triple-A Asset.”

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What’s a Company’s Gold Worth?

January 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Louis James & Andrey Dashkov, Casey’s International Speculator

At any given time, there’s a single international spot price for an ounce of refined gold. Gold is priced in U.S. dollars: $1,076.50 per ounce as we go to press. But what about the gold an exploration or mining company has in the ground – how do we value that?

Given sufficient data, you can estimate a reasonable net present value (NPV) for a project and deduce what each of the company’s ounces should be worth. To do this, you need to know annual output of the proposed mine, proposed capital expenditures, energy and other costs, and many more things. For most deposits held by the junior companies we tend to follow, there’s just not enough data available (more…)

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Orignal From: What’s a Company’s Gold Worth?

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2010 – A gap year for metal prices

January 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

According to the VM Group Metals monthly publication 2010 is likely to be the year metal prices take a breather but, the impact of China cannot be underestimated.

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What’s a Gold Miner’s Gold Worth?

January 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Bullion Vault
How to put a price on gold in the ground…

AT ANY TIME,
one ounce of refined gold can be valued at the international Spot Gold, write Louis James and Andrey Dashkov of Casey’s International Speculator.

Gold is priced in US Dollars: $1,076.50 per ounce as we go to press. But what about the gold an exploration or Gold Mining company has in the ground – how do we value that?

Given sufficient data, you can estimate a reasonable net present value (NPV) for a mining project, and deduce what each of the company’s ounces should be worth. To do this, you need to know annual output of the proposed mine, proposed capital expenditures, energy and other costs, and many more things. But for most deposits held by the junior companies we tend to follow, there’s just not enough data available.

Another approach is to compare the value the market is giving a company per ounce of gold in hand against the average value the market gives companies with similar ounces. The most obvious way to define "similar" ounces in the ground is to use the three resource and two mining reserve categories defined by Canada’s National Instrument NI43-101 regulations – the industry standard.

Here at Casey Research, we combine these into three broad groups, as we believe the market tends to do as well:

  • Inferred: the lowest-confidence category, based on just enough drilling to outline the mineralization.
  • Measured & Indicated (M&I): these higher-confidence categories have been drilled enough to establish their geometry and continuity reasonably well.
  • Proven & Probable (P&P): These are bankable mining reserves – basically Measure and Indicated resources with established value.

So, what does the market give a company, on average, for an Inferred ounce of gold? M&I? P&P…?

To answer this, we combed through every company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V) and pulled out the ones with 43-101-compliant gold resource estimates (or mostly gold) – no silver, copper, etc.

Of these, we kept only those with resources that fall almost entirely into only one of our three broad groups: Inferred, M&I, and P&P. In other words, we did not include companies with half Inferred and half M&I resources (though we did include companies with mostly P&P reserves, because most are producers – or soon will be – and are regarded that way). That left us with about 90 companies to calculate some averages on.

That’s not a large sampling universe, and we had to make some judgment calls when it came to defining what companies should fall in each category, but it’s what we have. So take these averages with a large grain of rock salt, but here they are:

  • US$20 per ounce Inferred
  • US$30 per ounce for M&I
  • US$160 per ounce for P&P

Armed with this information, if you didn’t know anything else about an M&I resource (political risk, type of ore, management history and so on…), but you saw that the company which owned it was trading at $10 per ounce, whereas its peers are valued at around $30 an ounce, you could conclude that there must either be something very wrong with the project or the stock is a great speculation.

If on further, closer inspection, there’s nothing wrong with the project, there’s an implied growth potential in the stock price, based on the difference between what the company is getting per ounce and the market average for similar ounces. In this case, it would be:

$20 x no. of ounces ÷ no. of shares

As a matter of perspective, a few years ago the market was giving a company about $25 per ounce Inferred, $50 for M&I, and about $100 for P&P. Then, when gold ran up over $1000 before the crash of 2008, these valuations went out the window, and some companies were getting over $100 for merely Inferred ounces.

Do we have your attention now?

Conversely, just after the 2008 Lehmans crash, when Gold Prices fell but Gold Mining stocks sank, there were companies having a hard time getting $10 for M&I. That was clearly a sign that it was time to buy, and we did, with gusto.

It’s also why, when the Mania Phase of this gold bull market gets underway, we’ll be selling into it as gold approaches the top; we will not be attempting to time the top. It’s far better in this business to be a day early than a day late.

Today, the market is willing to pay more for advanced and producing stories ($160 P&P) but is discounting earlier-stage stories, hence the lower M&I valuation than in previous years ($30). These figures will change again as the market’s appetite for risk changes.

Now let’s compare these numbers to those of a few sample gold companies. This table includes the market capitalizations (share price x no. of shares) of our sample gold companies expressed in US Dollars (because that’s what gold is priced in), not the usual Canadian Dollars.

The second column has the value of each company’s resources, as per the average numbers given above (i.e. [no. of inferred ounces x $20] + [no. of M&I ounces x $30] +[no. of P&P ounces x $160]). The implied growth is a simple ratio of these two numbers, expressed as a percentage.

  Market Cap (US$m) Value of Gold (US$m) Implied Growth (%)
Luiri Gold (LGL.V) 18.6 17.44 -6.2%
Gabriel Resources (GBU.T) 1420.5 2230.13 57.0%
Coral Gold (CLH.V) 16.3 68.0 317.2%

Gabriel and Coral Gold look pretty cheap, Luiri slightly expensive, but in most cases there are good reasons for this. For example, these averages by confidence category ignore the typically greater cost of extracting gold from low-grade sulfide ore, as compared to high-grade oxide ore.

We don’t follow the companies in the table above – they are just examples – but here’s our take on their implied growth ratios:

LGL: Luiri’s flagship Luiri Hill project, located in Zambia’s Central Province, has only 800,000 ounces in total resource, 82% of which fall within the least reliable Inferred category.

Although the current resource estimate is based on lower-grade material, the company’s gold looks fairly valued. However, LGL is working to define more high-grade areas of mineralization both within and outside the resource boundaries, and not without success. For example, drilling from the Matala deposit, lying in the heart of Luiri Hill, has delivered high-grade intercepts from the central shallow zones, like the recently published 21.1 g/t Au over 5.6 m (starting from 56 m), including 41.1 g/t Au over 2.8 m (starting from 56 m of the same hole #114).

Conclusion: The company looks a bit expensive at the moment, probably because the market sees Luiri’s upside potential coming from the new high-grade ounces being added in forthcoming resource estimates. If the marker were underestimating how much gold Luiri might be adding, it could still be a good speculation, but you’d have to be pretty sure of your calculations projecting that greater value to be added soon.

GBU: Gabriel Resources appears undervalued when using average ounce prices, plus there is a lot of upside outlined in the economic study on the company’s Rosia Montana project in Romania, released last March. The study suggests excellent project economics, including low cash cost (US$335/oz), after-tax NPV of almost 1 billion USD at 5% discount, and after-tax IRR of 20.4%, all at an uber-conservative US$750/oz base case Gold Price.

However, the company was sued by environmentalists in September 2007 and suffered regulatory setbacks. GBU shares tanked, and this is why the company’s gold is still selling at a discount; there is high political risk. Gabriel’s share price has soared recently on words of support from the government officials, but it’s still perceived – rightly – as high-risk. If Rosia Montana gets permitted to go into production, GBU shares should make very rapid gains.

Conclusion: The government of Romania has made supportive noises about Rosia Montana before, to no avail, and the company doesn’t appear screamingly cheap right now, so the risk-to-reward ratio looks too high to us.

CLH: The company is focused on the Robertson project located on the Cortez Trend in Nevada. Coral Gold has recently revised the project’s resource estimate at $850/oz gold (which looks fairly conservative, given the recent price action) to 3.4 million ounces, all Inferred. Our guidelines suggest that these ounces should be worth about US$68 million. Mind you, this gold is contained within what CLH believes to be well-known Carlin-type mineralization in a mining-friendly jurisdiction. Why does the market value these ounces way cheaper then?

We think it’s a metallurgy issue. Lacking sufficient metallurgical data from all Robertson targets, CLH used numbers from a deposit called 39A to stand in for the whole project. The problem is that 39A is one of the deeper Robertson deposits, and large-scale heap leach operation, the preferred scenario for Robertson, showed high strip ratio, which would probably result in high capital expenditures and operating costs.

Conclusion: Robertson ounces are cheap due to valid concerns over the project’s economics. If the company can fix these problems, its resources could be revalued upward dramatically.

Bottom line? We often get asked what an Inferred, or M&I, or P&P ounce is worth in the ground. The $20, $30, and $160 figures are only rough guides, and you must consider the reasons why some ounces are given more or less by the market, but they’re a good starting point.

This is what makes Casey’s International Speculator so different from other investment newsletters. You don’t just get stock picks, you get an education. Learn more about Casey Research here…

Gold’s Euro Link: Short-Term Traders Beware

January 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Bullion Vault
Will a threatened Euro affect the Gold Price? Short-term traders beware…!

JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET,
head of the European Central Bank, this week dismissed talk of Greece exiting the Euro as their national currency, writes Julian Phillips of the Gold Forecaster.

The fact that Trichet felt it necessary to issue such a statement meant that the prospect was being discussed outside the European Central Bank. The European Union is considering sanctions against Greece to bring it into line. Stress is high in the Eurozone!

Short-term traders in the gold market, particularly those in the US Comex Gold Futures market, should take heed. They have traded on the back of the Euro/Dollar exchange rate pulling the Gold Price higher when the Dollar fell, and pulling it down when the Dollar rose. But if there is a danger of any part of the Eurozone splintering off from the 16-nation currency union, then the Euro would weaken heavily. And it may well occur when the Dollar is weakening, too.

With both currencies weakening at the same time, the market rates would give a semblance of stability to the exchange rate, and so persuade short-term traders not to move the Gold Price.

This relationship would belie the dangers to the currency world. Which way would you jump with your Gold Investment?

Like the perceived ‘link’ between the oil price and gold, a relationship that was abandoned by short-term traders when the oil price spiked and then fell by almost four-fifths in mid-to-late 2008, the inverse relationship between the Dollar and gold likewise is based on poor fundamentals. It is also due to head the same way.

When gold "de-couples" from its Euro/Dollar link, gold rises with the Dollar, as it did in late 2008 and early 2009, throwing traders into a near-panic. Will you be ready when this happens again?

In 1999 the Euro arrived in the global monetary system to great fanfare. The Deutsche Mark disappeared; the French Franc disappeared alongside many other European national currencies, including the Greek Drachma. In their place, came the Euro.

What happened in reality was that the days of fixed exchange rates returned without the hassle of different currencies. Diverse economies in the Eurozone were joined together without national boundaries, allowing trade funds and capital to flow unfettered by European borders. As a result, the strong got stronger and the weaker more vulnerable to these flows. But many benefits have come with the system, as employment opportunities abounded and a pool of cheap labor was able to access jobs all over Europe. Capital flowed to where it was used most efficiently.

In addition, the strength of the zone has grown enormously as it became an economic bloc bigger than the US in population and hopes to equal and outrank the States economically in the future.

But what did not happen with the arrival of the Euro was a change in national cultures and national economic "shapes". Spain still gained its growth from being a holiday country, like Greece. Germany with its remarkable engineering and high quality manufacturing enhanced its economic power within this zone, drawing to itself new markets within Europe. All went well until the credit crunch when national pressures hurt the poorer Mediterranean nations in particular, such as Greece (downgraded thanks to its huge budget deficit) and Spain (where unemployment is now at 20%).

The rules of the Eurozone were meant to be so strict that each nation had to comply with a set of Balance of Payments criteria, ensuring a healthy economy in the face of capital flows. But these rules were broken and economic pressures grown. The clash between national economic behavior of the past and these rules has not been diminished, for as always, national interests are placed before Eurozone interests.

But the Euro in the last decade has established itself as an accepted currency having gained the confidence of its users there and abroad. Backed by 15% minimum gold levels, it is deemed a sound currency.

Is the Euro structurally sound? The success of the last decade tells us that it is. But it wasn’t until the last two years that it faced any crisis. We are told that the full reported impact of the ‘credit-crunch’ is not known, but that it is far more severe than thought.

Eastern Europe’s debts are still capable of destroying European banks. Talk that Switzerland is facing unbearable strains in its banking system because of these debts abounds still. It is clear that from the European Central Bank down, institutions are struggling to cope with the crisis and rectify their balance sheets away from public eyes.

Whether the monetary union will survive or not is not the point. The point is that the Euro is visibly another ‘paper’ currency that is vulnerable, just as any other is. Within the Eurozone it will survive many crises, because there is no alternative on the street. A look at Zimbabwe tells us just how far a people can be made to use a currency that has lost credibility, but outside it, its use is more sensitive and reactive to the confidence it inspires.

Even at its inception doubts surrounded the Euro. Joining together a group of nations with such a long-term, divisive history, stretched credibility when they vowed monetary cooperation under one currency. Political action and assertiveness, when national interests are at stake, made us feel that this Eurozone is weak. If a Euro crisis really struck, few doubt that national interests would overwhelm Eurozone ones.

The European Parliament rulings will only be accepted when it suits each member, but what if it doesn’t? That’s why talk of Greece leaving the zone has arisen.

Is the Euro under stress? Yes, but not yet at a point where member nations would withdraw from the union. It will come under more and more pressure though as the pressures facing the Dollar show themselves to be the same against the Euro. The sapping of manufacturing strength from the US is also happening to Europe. These problems are bound to continue over time until China is the economic driving force worldwide. The Socialist nature of Europe will delay the pain, but it will come.

There has to be a point when the Eurozone rules are broken to such an extent that the ECB has to act against member nations. To date this has not happened because breaches of those rules have been ‘managed’ (i.e. ignored). But the day when they are too great a set of breaches is on the way. Then what?

History shows us that the wealth structure of Europe has been as it is now for many decades if not centuries. Old money is not as patriotic as it may seem. It may not be that mobile, but the liquid portion of that money is, and it is certainly not nationalistic. Pragmatic money will find a safe home so it can survive.

A look at the time zones in which each gold market is situated helps us to appreciate when the citizens and institutions of those blocs act in the gold market. Asia is active from the time the US closes through the night. Europe opens at around 0700hrs GMT. The States starts dealing at around 1300 hrs GMT (1 hour before the doors of the New York markets open).

With the gold market running 24-hours a day, moves in the Gold Price tell us which way each one is facing. A phenomenon of the last year has been to see the Asian and Middle Eastern markets lifting the Gold Price ahead of Europe. Without pushing the Gold Price up too much, you can see the vigor and lack of it during these times. More and more frequently Gold Price rises have begun in Asia with Europe following through.

But ‘old money’ wealth is well spread across the globe, particularly in Europe and the UK. Nevertheless, it is apparent that gold is being favored more and more by such wealth. Europeans are at the forefront of the expected investment demand poised to enter the gold market in 2010.

They don’t have to wait for a Euro breakdown or lesser crisis; they will act ahead of it. They won’t chase prices; what’s the point? They want to Buy Gold in volume and with such a scant supply of it, relative to paper currencies; it is too easy to chase a price up without getting the volumes you want.

So yes, a ‘threatened’ Euro will affect the Gold Price.

How best to Buy Gold today? Find out with a free gram of gold at BullionVault now…

Silver’s Slide Ends in January, 2010

January 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Weekly Silver UpdateSilver prices can head no lower in January, but only because the trading days ended for the month on Friday. Silver tumbled during the first month in 2010, falling 4.1 percent in London and 3.9 percent in New York.

The strength of the US dollar and worries over industrial demand were commonly cited for silver (and platinum) declines.

The enormous surge in prices during the first week of the year helped to lesson the impact of a mostly declining trend seen in the remaining days and weeks. Last week prices decline the most in January, but this week was no bed of roses for the metal either.

 

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Bullion & Business Monthly Report – January, 2010

January 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Weekend Recap: Silver, Gold and Platinum Prices; Business Week News Bullion prices fell this week, with gold and silver marking a second consecutive monthly decline in both New York and London. Gold’s fall has been driven significantly by a rising US dollar, which has climbed 2 percent against other world currencies in January. The yellow metal normally moves in the opposite direction of the greenback.

New York crude oil tumbled for a third straight week, and prices have plunged more than 8 percent this month. The dollar’s strength has also been a factor in oil’s negative direction, along with concerns over future demand.

US and European stocks stocks ended lower for the week and the month. The major US indexes fell between 3.5 and 5.4 percent in January.

For London Fix January bullion prices, gold fell 2.3 percent, silver declined 4.1 percent and platinum ended down 3.1 percent.

Gold on Friday was fixed at $1,078.50 an ounce, falling $5.50 or 0.5 percent for the week. Silver ended at $16.29 an ounce, for a weekly loss of 99 cents or 5.7 percent. Platinum was settled at $1,512.00 an ounce, losing $28.00 or 1.8 percent since last Friday.

For New York metals monthly prices for January, gold declined 1.1 percent, silver lost 3.9 percent and platinum retreated 3.2 percent.

Gold for April delivery ended at $1,083.80 for a weekly loss of $5.90 or 0.5 percent. Silver futures for March delivery ended at $16.190 an ounce, falling 74 cents or 4.4 percent on the week. Platinum for April delivery closed to $1,506.00, losing $38.50 or 2.5 percent.

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2010 Kennedy Half Dollar Rolls and Bags Released

January 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

2010 Kennedy Half DollarThe United States Mint today at noon ET began offering bags and rolls of 2010 Kennedy Half Dollars.

Kennedy 50c pieces are unique in that the US Mint no longer produces them for use in every day change, but instead for collectors in circulation strike condition.

Demand, therefore, is dictated by the quantities of bags and rolls sold directly by the Mint to interested buyers, and not by orders placed from American banks.

In 2008, the Mint struck 1.7 million 2008-D and 1.7 million 2008-P Kennedy Half Dollars. It had to increase production in 2009 as demand rose, helped in part by the focus on the Kennedy family following the passing of Ted Kennedy on August 26, 2009. The mintage levels increased to 1.9 million at each Mint facility.

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US Mint 2008 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Set Sold Out

January 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

 2008 United States Mint Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin SetThe 2008 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set was moved to the United States Mint "sold out" column on Thursday after being unusually available for nearly 1 1/2 years. They went on sale August 7, 2008.

The set was the only way to purchase an uncirculated "W" American Silver Eagle directly from the US Mint, albeit 2008-dated, since 2009 proof and uncirculated eagles were canceled in 2009 as a result of unprecedented demand for the bullion versions.

The annual set includes the collectible eagle from West Point as well as four Philadelphia struck 2008 Presidential $1 Coins — honoring James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren, and a Sacagawea Golden Dollar from the United States Mint at Denver.

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